Congress expresses solidarity with striking unions

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday accused the central government of seeking to change labour laws to give undue advantage to a few crony industrialists and expressed solidarity with labour unions who struck work against the “anti-labour” steps of the NDA alliance.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi sought to compare the Narendra Modi government with the British.

“It seems just as the Britishers wanted to benefit the East India Company at the expense of millions of labourers of this country, the Modi government wants to benefit 5-6 crony businessmen friends of the government,” Singhvi told reporters here.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ was hollow as millions of workers went on strike on a call by 10 central trade unions.

“The government has utterly failed to engage them and the government obstinacy led to this stalemate. The Indian National Congress stands in solidarity with the trade unions striking against the anti-labour steps taken by this government,” Singhvi said.

The Congress leader said growth cannot be meaningful unless it included the labour class.

“Utter apathy and mindless quest to change labour laws to the disadvantage of workers and give undue advantage of a few crony industrialists characterises this government’s attitude,” Singhvi said.

He said justified demands of the trade unions and workers should be looked into immediately and a solution found at the earliest.

Wednesday’s strike by the trade unions was called in support of their 12 demands, including withdrawal of labour law amendments, a minimum wage of Rs.15,000 a month and against privatisation of public sector units. The unions said about 300 million workers were involved in the protest.

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